The Château de Hattonchâtel site was fortified in 860 by Hatto, Bishop of Verdun, whose name it bears, on a rocky promontory overlooking the Woëvre flat land. The settlement became the chief stronghold of the bishops and also the location of their mint until 1546. In 1636 the retreating Swedes besieged and burnt most of the town.
The medieval castle was destroyed during World War I in 1918. The site was entirely reconstructed between 1923 and 1928 by Henri Jacquelin, a Norman architect originally from Evreux, in the Neo-Renaissance style. He produced the ultimate 'troubadour' château of Lorraine, a pastiche which used some remains from the 11th century building. The work was financed by the American benefactor Belle Skinner.
The Château de Hattonchâtel has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1986 and is privately owned. The château is run as a hotel, wedding and conference centre.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.